We know how much you love fencing. We also know how difficult it is to balance work or school, fencing, and other life obligations. While serious fencers need to spend a lot of time in practice, they also know how important it is to step away from time to time to regroup and avoid burnout.

Train with Different Partners

It may seem like a certain individual is just a good fit when it comes to training partners, but training with the same person over and over again can actually make you too comfortable with your techniques. You get to know each other’s habits, so you aren’t really learning to use a good eye with a strange opponent. People who only train with one person tend to get stuck in a rut and then get bored. Take time to train with other members of your club for a more challenging experience.

Vary Your Training Routine

Make sure you are spending time on technique, footwork, strength training, and endurance. Use different exercises to work on each skill and combine different elements of your training to make truly unique workouts. Don’t forget to cross-train with other sports or activities from time to time, too. Running a race or playing in a soccer game is just as good for your footwork as practicing steps in front of your mirror. Avoid doing the same workout over and over again. You’ll get bored and burn out faster.

Build Rest and Recovery into Your Schedule

The easiest and most important thing you can do to avoid burnout is to actually build your rest and recovery sessions into your schedule. We know that those who are active get itchy when they are told they need to rest. Taking a rest day doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t do anything at all. Consider active recovery methods like yoga, walking, and truly focused stretching sessions. Work at least a session a week into your calendar.

Be Body Conscious

Listen to your body – truly listen. Hungry? Eat. Sore? Stretch, ice, or talk to your coach about fixing your form to avoid injury. Actually injured? Take a day off to rest and heal to avoid further irritation or worsening the injury. Don’t take anything for granted, especially if you are cramping, feel dehydrated or ill, or feel as though you’ve pulled a muscle. Taking a day to heal now is better than having to take a week or month to nurse something more serious.

Remember, burnout isn’t just for athletes – it’s for parents and spouses, too. You work hard to get your loved ones to their classes and tournaments and sometimes you need a break, too; whether that means everyone taking the day off or asking someone else to get them where they need to be.

Taking an extended period of time away from training isn’t always beneficial, so it’s important to find balance throughout your training season so that you can continue to progress at an even pace. Talk to your coach if you are starting to feel frustrated or burnt out. You may need to take a day off or simply shake your routine up a bit. Either way, we’re here to help.